Chocolate Meringue Cake with Drunken Fruit and a new blog home…

Hello all, my blog has a new home on my brand new website!

www.sweetpeadarlingheart.com

Please come and check it out, and if you would like to keep on receiving my recipes, enter your email address using the pink subscribe box on the right hand side of the site, I’d love to keep sharing with you!

Head on over to find out the recipe for this Chocolate Meringue Cake with Drunken Fruit; I made it for my own ‘Friendsgiving’, it’s a rich and delicious thing to share with your nearest and dearest. A definite recipe for the upcoming festive season.

Hope to see you at my new site

x

Amber

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Thanks to my lovely friends Sarah from Love Katie and Sarah for her beautiful photography, and Rita from Blooming Brides for her gorgeous home grown flowers xxx

 

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Hipster Banana Bread

Am I a hipster? Oh god. I like organic food, make my own kefir and ride a cruiser. Yes, I’d love to save the world and my husband has a beard. Hmmmm….. maybe I am just enough of a hipster to be allowed to call this Hipster Banana Bread?!

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Eating a bite of this loaf made me think of my Mum. I’m sure she would have baked something like this, while I watched at her elbow; something wholesome and healthful, and knowing her she would have spread on some tahini and honey for extra goodness/yummyness.

Times change, and now I am the mum with my little one standing at my elbow. And so whilst I originally thought to call this recipe Hippy Banana Bread (as I think of my mum being somewhat of a hippy earth mother) I decided that for my times, perhaps it is more of a Hipster Banana Bread.

So get out your spelt and your cocoa nibs, mash a few bananas and then sling a few slices into your satchel for a snack whilst out on your bike. Lovely alongside a good cup o’ chai.

Hipster Banana Bread

This really is more bread than cake, and is abundant in seeds and cocoa nib crunch. I imagine it would be a great snack to take on a hike; it fills you up in a good way and keeps you going for a long time. It stores well for at least 5 days, and actually gets better after a day or two. And as with all banana breads (in my humble opinion) a generous buttering is a must.

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Adapted from Seeded Banana Bread from A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones.

  • 250g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 125g brown sugar (I think coconut sugar would substitute well here, I’m going to try that next time)
  • 150g little seeds (I used 50g golden linseeds, 50g sesame seeds and 50g cocoa nibs)
  • a pinch of salt (go on, rock in some Himalayan Crystal salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large bananas, mashed as you will
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C fan forced. Butter and line a loaf tin with baking paper, and let the paper reach up the sides so it is easy to remove.

Mix together in a bowl all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, seeds, salt and baking powder) until there are no lumps.

In a separate bowl mash the bananas, then stir in the olive oil, yoghurt and eggs.

Gently mix together the wet and dry ingredients, just until there are no pockets of flour left. Hippies or Hipsters alike, be gentle and loving to your mix.

Pour the mixture into the tin, then bake a little lower down in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

When the loaf is cool enough, transfer to a cooling rack. This is pretty yummy still warm, but also good at room temperature or toasted and spread with either butter and a little honey or your favourite nut butter. I also had the notion of making a slice into french toast and topping it with some maple, greek yoghurt and extra bananas, but haven’t got there yet! Let me know if that’s where you take it!

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Buckwheat Crepes with oven roasted Rhubarb

High fives to all the amazing cooks and chefs out there at the moment championing wholefoods and more healthful and mindful ways of eating. I feel an amazing shift happening towards a more natural and delicious way of conscious eating and farming, and it’s so great to see it becoming more mainstream. I have been adding to my cookbook collection because there are so many gorgeous books out there that I find them hard not to take them all home. There are so many exciting, vibrant recipes that I can’t wait to whip up and I’m sure I will be feasting on them coming into Spring and Summer.

Buckwheat Crepes with oven roasted Rhubarb

One gorgeous book that I bought a little while back is My Petite Kitchen. Eleanor Ozich is a gluten free rock star, making special food delicious for all the right reasons. She cooks from a place of love (you can just tell) and her pictures are just so pretty, they really do make it all feel like home.

I bought her book without even opening it (yes, I knew if would be that good) and it has proven to be a mega source of gluten free inspiration. I have it literally post-it noted all over.

She sounds really, really nice and has just opened a cafe, and I tell you, if I lived in New Zealand I would be down there for some lunch quick smart.

This recipe was inspired by her Buckwheat Pancakes; mine are crepes because that is what my kids want to gobble at the moment and I served them with some oven baked rhubarb. Gluten free, refined sugar free, just get them into you. Preferably whilst still in bed, or at least in your pyjamas.

Buckwheat Crepes with oven roasted Rhubarb

For the crepes:

130g buckwheat flour
310ml milk
2 beautiful organic free range eggs

Whisk together the flour, milk and eggs until nice and smooth. Simple huh.

Heat a little coconut oil or butter in a fry pan (I have a little flat cast-iron crepe pan and it is awesome, go and get yourself one if you really like crepes, you won’t regret it). Heat the pan until just before smoking point, you need the pan to be hot before you try and make your first crepe.

Pour a ladle full of crepe mixture into the pan, and swirl it around quickly to create a thin, even layer. Pour any excess mixture out of the pan and back into the bowl, ready to make the next crepe.

Cook the crepe until it is just opaque, and you can run a rubber spatula around the edges of the crepe. It won’t take long to cook if the crepe is thin enough. Truth be told, the first crepe probably won’t turn out right (sometimes I’m lucky and the first one works out, but honestly if you tear the first one then cook’s treat for you). With your rubber spatula flip your crepe over and cook on the other side for just 10 or 20 seconds more, until the little bubbles on the second side are just browned. Slip it out of the pan and onto a beautiful plate that is magically waiting there for you, begging to be filled with a little stack of crepes.

Keep cooking crepe by crepe, keeping the first ones warm in a low oven on their beautiful plate, but covered by some tin foil so they don’t dry out. Do a little dance, shuffle in your slippers and give yourself a high five. Yay, crepes!

Drizzle them with maple syrup if you want to, and maybe some creamy yoghurt.

And if you do prefer your breakfast whilst reclining, these keep well in the fridge, so you can make them the day before, then wrap them well and pop in the fridge waiting to be warmed up by your loved one in the oven the next morning, to serve you breakfast in bed.

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Oven Roasted Rhubarb

One bunch of beautiful pink rhubarb, ends and leaves discarded
2 or 3 tablespoons of stevia
Juice of half a lemon

Cut your rhubarb into little finger sized lengths. Place into a glass or ceramic bowl.

Sprinkle the rhubarb with the stevia and lemon juice and shake it all about. I am vague here about the stevia because personally I like rhubarb a little on the tart side, but some of us out there (well, pretty much everyone else that lives at my house anyway) like things a little sweeter, so you can add more. And if sugar doesn’t bother you, then go ahead and use brown sugar, oh my, it will be delicious.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Let the rhubarb, lemon and sweetness mingle for 20 minutes of so, until they are juicy friends.

Pop the rhubarb and juices into a deep roasting pan (like a brownie tin, something with some depth to hold the juices) and cover with a piece of tin foil. Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes or a little less, rhubarb loses it’s shape quickly, so if you’d like the pieces to retain their roundness, check it after 15 for tenderness.

Eat.

Amazing photography by Sarah of Love Katie and Sarah, thanks S xx

roasted rhubarb

Lime and Pistachio Tea Cakes

Sometimes you just need a little something sweet and syrupy. These are for those times.

Inspired by the gluten free classic seen in almost every cafe sweets cabinet, this is my variation on the classic Orange and Almond cake; Lime and Pistachio cakes, in miniature. Sweet and sticky, yet fragrant and bright from whole limes and my favourite, pistachios.

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Lime and Pistachio Tea Cakes

Makes 6-12 individual sized tea cakes, the perfect size for sharing with a friend.

  • 5 or 6 limes, 450 – 500g
  • 6 eggs
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 250g ground pistachios
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder

Put the limes into a saucepan and cover with water. Pop on a lid and bring to the boil; boil the limes for around an hour or until they are completely tender. Remove the limes from the water and cut them open to remove any seeds. Place the limes in a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Set aside for now.

Grease a 12-hole muffin or friand tin well with butter. If you have a tin that has removable bases, then now is the perfect time to use it. If not, then cut out some little circles of baking paper and pop them into the bases of the muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

It is up to you how many little cakes you would like to make, you can easily divide this mixture into 12 little cakes, or even just divide it into 6 and make the little cakes nice and tall. Just slightly increase the baking time if you are making taller cakes. I divided my mixture into 8.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until combined; you don’t want to add too much air here, just make it all nice and smooth and dissolve the sugar a little bit.

Stir through the lime puree, and then fold in the ground almonds, ground pistachios and baking powder, until beautifully smooth.

Spoon into the muffin tin, dividing into as many as you wish. Bake for around 35 minutes (adding an extra 10 or 15 minutes if your cakes are taller), until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin before removing them.

Serve with a dollop of thick cream, and a few curls of lime zest and crushed pistachios if you are feeling fancy.

These cakes keep really well for several days, but you probably won’t be able to resist them for that long.

Lovely photography by Sarah Collins from Love Katie and Sarah

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Hazelnut and Pumpkin Tart

As I write this, I am sitting here grabbing a little slice of Winter sun. Inside, beside a window. It may not be the great outdoors, but it’s something. And sitting in the sun is making me think that a picnic would be a good idea. And whilst there is nothing like a picnic somewhere verdant and lush, either just in the backyard or out somewhere adventuring, on a day like today I think the blanket might just blow away. So let’s have an indoor picnic instead, and dream of a new day in Spring, with some flowers out and some birds singing, and just soak up a little bit more of that sun.

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This tart is earthy and sweet and gluten free. The base is crumbly, but deliciously so. Don’t skimp on the fetta, rocket or the dukkah, together they make for a perfect picnic combination of flavour and texture; smooth and sweet pumpkin alongside creamy, tangy fetta, a little spice from the dukkah and freshness from the rocket. Best enjoyed with friends.

Hazelnut and Pumpkin Tart

20cm loose bottomed tart tin, greased with butter

For the filling:

  • 600g pumpkin, sliced into wedges and roasted until tender
  • 3 tablespoons of dukkah for sprinkling
  • 150g ricotta
  • 4 beautiful, organic, free range eggs

For the hazelnut crust:

  • 75g butter, cold and cubed
  • 65g brown rice flour
  • 45g hazelnut meal
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour or cornflour
  • a sprinkling of cold water
  • a pinch of good quality salt

Combine the rice flour, salt and hazelnut meal in a bowl. Add your butter, and use your hands to crumble it all together, until things are looking a little lumpy and pretty well mixed. Sprinkle in some cold water, and give a light knead until a dough forms. You should need around 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up a bit.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

Once the dough has had a rest, use your hands to press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a well greased tart tin. Yes, no rolling pins required!

In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta and eggs until smooth, along with a good pinch of salt and a crack of pepper.

Pour the ricotta, egg mixture into the tart shell, then place the roasted pumpkin pieces on top. Sprinke with the dukkah, then place in the oven to bake for around 35-40 minutes. It will be ready when the sides of the tart will have puffed and it is slightly golden all over.

This tart is delicious hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Bring it to the table or the picnic rug and top with a handful of wild rocket and a crumbling of goat’s fetta. The base will be delicious and a bit crisp and crumbly, just mop it all up with your fingers and enjoy.

Photos by the amazing Sarah of Love Katie and Sarah

Toffee Walnut Scrolls

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The mornings are dark and crisp. The air is bracing, the sun slow to catch up.

What I really long for is to stay under the covers a little longer, and for somebody to deliver me something warm and sweet.

Toffee Walnut Scrolls for cozy weekend mornings

Make your morning easy and prepare these the day before. A slow overnight rise in the fridge will produce generous buns, ready to be popped into the oven the following morning. Better still, leave baking instructions for your loved one so a tray can be delivered fresh and sticky from the oven, next to a piping hot cup of coffee. A perfect way to start a Winter’s day.

Toffee

Makes 16 generous buns.

For the buns

  • 5 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 180g raw sugar
  • 310ml warm water
  • 90g melted butter
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 800g plain flour
  • pinch of salt

For the praline

  • 200g raw sugar
  • 50g toasted walnuts

Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Sprinkle the sheet with the walnuts. To make the toffee, melt the sugar in a frying pan, stirring constantly once the sugar has started to melt at the edges, until the sugar is a dark golden colour. Pour the hot sugar over the walnuts, and allow to cool until hard. Voila, praline. Smash into little pieces using a rolling pin or mortar and pestle. Set aside, but make sure you taste just a little bit.

To make the bun dough, mix the yeast and sugar together with the warm water and melted butter, and leave somewhere warm until the mixture starts to foam. This will take around 10 minutes. Stir in the eggs until well combined.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Pour in the yeast and egg mixture and knead well until you have a smooth and elastic dough. You can knead the dough either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once the surface of the dough is smooth and it feels pretty stretchy, roll it into a ball and transfer it to a well oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for about one hour.

If you are baking these buns on the same day, then now is the time to preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, and line a baking tray with paper. Otherwise just proceed without heating the oven.

Tip your dough out onto a lightly floured bench and give it a quick knead to knock out some of the air. Roll the dough into a rough rectangle, just slightly smaller than your baking tray. Sprinkle with shards of praline, leaving a little rim free of praline on each of the long sides. Roll the dough, long side to long side, to make a long, skinny swiss roll shape. Cut the dough into 5cm slices, and lay the scrolls snugly beside each other on the baking tray.

If you can’t wait any longer and want to bake the buns now, then just let them rise somewhere warm for around 15 minutes, before popping them in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and sticky.

If you want to have these for breakfast in bed tomorrow, then pop the tray into the fridge, covering the buns with some cling film to stop them from drying out. Write down a few instructions on a note and place it on the kitchen bench, or bedside table. Sweet dreams and happy slumber…

Ahhh, good morning. Hopefully your bestest buddy is now down in the kitchen. The little note you wrote him/her last night will tell them to take the buns out of the fridge, and then preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. He, or she, should pop the tray somewhere warmish, like beside the oven, while they take the time to set a little tray with maybe a glass of juice, a vase of flowers…

Now is the time to pop those buns in the oven. Collect the paper, make a nice cup of coffee and in 20-30 minutes they will be golden and delicious and ready to deliver to the lovely who is still in bed… enjoy, and happy Winter weekend.

Lusciously captured by Sarah of Love Katie and Sarah

ToffeeScrolls

 

Hummus. Yes.

Hummus

So, it’s really, really freezing. Melbourne has just decided to blast Winter right up in your face and not let you escape, nowhere, no how. Many cups of tea are needed, and make it spicy. After an Autumn where I craved Japanese non-stop and made Nasu Dengaku pretty much every week, I am now turning to warmth and comfort from the warming spices of the Middle East. I can’t get enough of cumin, paprika, coriander seed, a little chilli… I’m sprinkling dukkah on pretty much everything. Add in some lemon and some chickpeas and you will make me a happy woman.

Hummus has made a big comeback for lunchtimes, alongside a little of last night’s leftovers and a crispy fried egg, sprinkled with dukkah of course and some wilted greens with lemon. I am having desert dreaming, I need warming from the inside out.

So because all things Middle Eastern are floating my boat right now I am turning to my main man for delicious Middle Eastern inspiration – Yotam.

I have a food crush on Yotam Ottolenghi. There, I’ve said it. It’s not like I have met him, it’s just that every thing he makes I want to eat.

There are some people whose cookbooks I would buy without even opening the cover, just because I know how good they are going to be. People who just get it. Yotam is one of these people. His collection of books hold an important space on my bookshelf. My bookshelf has two layers of books now but Yotam’s books always stay in the front. The flavour just flies off the page. The way he talks about food, the way he plates it, they way it is all just make some deliciousness and stick it on a big platter for all your friends to devour. I just like it.

A few weeks ago, the kids were in bed and I flicked on the television and chanced upon Yotam visiting his home town of Jerusalem. He journeyed and remembered delicious food memories and made some new food discoveries, and he just made me want to eat every single thing. I may not be able to go to Jerusalem but from his cookbooks I can share in some of that magic and majesty and dream a little in my own kitchen.

Pomegranate

So here is one of our staples at the moment… Yotam’s Hummus. Add some pops of pomegranate from your neighbour’s yard (no really, she insisted I take them 😉 and you have yourself some comforting deliciousness.

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Basic Hummus from Yotam and Sami’s Jerusalem

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 270g light tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 100ml ice cold water
  • salt

A day before you want to eat your hummus, rinse your chickpeas and pop them into a large bowl. Cover with double their volume of cold water and leave to soak overnight.

The following day, drain the chickpeas and place them into a medium saucepan. Add the bicarbonate of soda and place on a high heat, stirring and cooking for about 3 minutes. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water, and bring to the boil. Allow them to cook until they become soft (this can take somewhere between 20 and 40mins, you want them very tender, so you can crush them easily with your finger and thumb), skimming any foam that floats to the surface whilst cooking.

Drain the cooked chickpeas, and pop them into a food processor. Blitz those chickies until they become a thick paste, then whilst the machine is still running add in the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and a decent pinch of salt. Whiz whiz. Then trickle in the cold water and keep whizzing until your hummus is super smooth (about 5 minutes). Taste it and adjust the flavourings if you so desire.

Yotam and Sami recommend you let it rest for 30 minutes before eating, although I find this part tricky. And serve it at room temperature with something good and crunchy.

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Thanks Sarah from Love Katie and Sarah for my lovely photos… you’re a gem!